Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 96 Celebrate la Befana-Ethnic Traditions

PPG Wintergarden/la Befana

Today, January 6th , is the  Italian celebration of  la Befana  which ends the Italian holiday season.   Pittsburgh is a city with a collage of  ethnic  families and neighborhoods that spill  various traditions from all over the world into the mix of the city. The book, Everything I Need to Know about Christmas, I Learned from A little Golden Book , remarks that the Christmas season ,“ is a time for traditions.”  This is the focus at the PPG Wintergarden  display  of “Spirits of Giving From Around the World ”  which has 16 life sized “Santas”  and explains the  traditional Santa story for each country. I  love to go every year  but in this new journey, I  focused and learned more about the one from my ancestry- the Italian la Befana. 

The traditional story is that on the night before Epiphany (which is the January 6th Christian celebration of the three king’s visit to the baby Jesus), Befana  flies around the world on a broomstick and comes  down the chimney to bring candy  and gifts to good children.  Does this sound familiar? 

According the website,  http://everybodylovesitalian.com/legend-la-befana/: “The story is that la Befana was approached by the Three Wise Men who asked her to lead them to the stable where the baby Jesus lay in a manger. La Befana was too busy cleaning her house at the time, so she declined the offer to go with them. Very soon she realized that she had made a huge mistake, so she gathered up a bag full of gifts and set off alone in search of the baby Jesus. Befana continues to travel the world over to this day searching every house for the Christ child.”
PPG exhibit -train,tree, Santas

So today I had some Godiva chocolate in honor of the Italian legend  because I have been a good girl all year (wink). On the other hand, I gave my son only a bite because he has not been so good.  

 Find your ethnic Santa story and celebrate it! (PPG exibit runs every year From Nov 27 until January 9th)

Spiritual Reflection 
Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from the eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it rose and we have come to worship him”(Mathew 2:1-2). 

Other Sources 
 PPG Winter Garden Santa Around the World http://pittsburgh.about.com/od/holidays/p/santas.htm